STMicroelectronics' tiny 3-axis gyroscope delivers power, speed, and design-in advantages


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Draws 25% less current and reduces turn-on time to 1/5 that of previous generation

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The L3GD20H 3-axis gyroscope draws 25% less current, outputs 60% less noise, and turns on 80% faster than ST's previous generation devices.

STMicroelectronics has unveiled its smallest, lowest-power, and highest-performance chip-scale gyroscope for advanced motion-sensing applications. ST's L3GD20H gyroscope measures only 3 x 3 x 1 mm. Occupying little over half the volume of its predecessor, yet offering better resolution, higher accuracy, superior stability, and faster response time, the new device enables smaller sensing mechanisms in industrial tools and smart consumer electronics including mobile phones and tablets, game consoles, and digital cameras. The dimensions of this gyroscope also allow experimental projects such as wearable electronics to move closer towards practicality. One such application is the prototype smart suit that ST used to demonstrate inertial body-motion reconstruction early in 2012, which can help enhance various applications such as augmented reality, sports-training aids, or medical therapy. "Miniaturized, low-power sensors such as our new L3GD20H enable smart electronics to be used in ever-smaller and slimmer handheld devices, as well as in items such as clothes or sports equipment, creating opportunities for exciting new products and services," said Roberto De Nuccio, Business Development Manager for ST's Motion MEMS Division. "Both high-volume applications in smart phones and tablets and emerging applications such as prosthetics, medical instruments, goods tracking, and power tools will benefit from this latest generation of tiny MEMS devices." ST's MEMS gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, and inertial modules enable innovative products and applications such as context-sensitive user interfaces, augmented reality, kinetic gaming. They also support and industrial applications including container tracking or emergency-stop mechanisms. In February 2012, IHS iSuppli predicted the total market for MEMS devices enabling such applications will more than double to $4.25 billion by 2015. In particular, 3-axis gyroscopes—such as the L3GD20H—will represent over $900 million of this market. In addition to enabling advanced product miniaturization, ST's L3GD20H also helps conserve battery power by drawing 25% lower current than the previous generation of devices. The L3GD20H is also ready for action in only one-fifth of the time after turn on, enabling the end-user application to deliver a better overall experience. Finally, the gyroscope's output has 60% lower noise, which can help to simplify hardware and software design and speed up communication with the host system leading to faster application performance. The new gyroscope retains a similar register structure as its predecessor, the L3GD20, making it easy for designers to reuse existing software code and thus reduce time to market and lower development costs. Designers will also benefit from ST's Sensor Fusion development environment. Features:

  • 3 x 3 x 1 mm package
  • 25% lower current draw of previous generation
  • 60% lower output noise of previous generation
  • 80% faster turn on of previous generation
  • Three selectable full-scale ranges: 245, 500, and 2000 dps
  • I2C/SPI two-line digital interface
  • Integrated low- and high-pass filters with user-selectable bandwidth
  • Power-down and sleep modes
  • Embedded temperature sensor and FIFO
The L3GD20H, housed in an LGA-16 leadless surface-mount package, will begin sampling in 3Q12 and will enter mass production in 4Q12. ST has priced the 3-axis gyroscope at $2.60 (1000). STMicroelectronics L3GD20H product deeplink